Our commitment to volunteerism has introduced us to so many things. Our eyes have been opened to the need that exists in our city. Our hearts have been touched by the great organizations and the people who serve our neighbors with strong dedication and commitment. Week after week we encounter the new. New people, new charities, new perspectives, new emotions, and new organizations, just to name a few. This week, new is a great way to describe our experience dealing with the old.
A few months ago I met an individual who introduced me to the African/African-American Historical Museum. It was an organization with whom I was not familiar. After a few weeks of discussion, we had the opportunity to volunteer with them this week. The Museum strives to educate and promote a better understanding and appreciation of African and African-American history and culture. Located on Douglas Street in Fort Wayne, the museum is a place that sets free the imagination and captivates the minds of visitors. Room after room is filled with historical artifacts, displays, and exhibits. The local history of African-Americans in our county (dating back to the 1880s) gives everyone who steps foot inside the museum a true history of our city.
The timing of our volunteer activity was strategically planned to help prepare the museum for Fort Wayne’s “Be A Tourist in Your Own Hometown” event. This event allows residents of Fort Wayne to visit 12 of the city’s attractions and museums for Free. It is a great event that exposes local treasures like the African/African-American Historical Museum to the general public. An introduction to those who do not know that it exists, that it is available, and that it is awesome. We spent a few hours helping with general cleaning after renovations. We also logged some donations and scanned exhibit documentation into the computer. The vision of the museum is digitize some of the exhibits and make them available via their website. This will help the museum educate children from all over. That was all that we did. To us, it didn’t seem like we were much help. John, the Executive Director of the organization, told us otherwise. He was very appreciative of our help and said that we saved him a bunch of time. Another example of how small actions, small gestures, can go a long way in the life of another.
The AAAHM has been sharing the African-American history of our city with patrons for many years. They are on an exciting journey of growth. The vision is new, the leadership is new, and the treasures are old. If you are a resident of Fort Wayne we strongly encourage you to make a visit. You will learn about William Warfield’s efforts to provide housing for railroad employees who were barred from Fort Wayne Hotels, see Rod Woodson’s NFL jersey and other local sports memorabilia and photos, and learn about the history of the Civil Rights movement. The African/African-American Historical Museum is a treasure to our community and you need to check it out. After doing so, become a member, volunteer some time, or donate a few dollars. Take action to help grow this true place of history!